Saturday, June 28, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Ode on Intimations of Immortality, Part VIII" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month

For the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for June 27, 2014 (with apologies for the tardy posting), we will continue with our study of "Ode on Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month.  Today we examine Part VIII.

Ode on Intimations of Immortality, Part VIII
William Wordsworth

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
          Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,--
          Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
          On whom those truths rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
          To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed, without the sense of sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thoughts where we in waiting lie;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

In Part VIII, Wordsworth again exhorts his readers to guard against losing one's "inner child."  However, it is not until line eighteen of this twenty-five-line poem that we find out that the "thou" of the previous seventeen lines is a child.  Wordsworth does this deliberately, forcing the reader to wonder just who this amazing "thou" could be--although, by this, Part VIII, the revelation should really come as no surprise.

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